Move over wine tasting parties...Sake is moving in on the spotlight. Be a trend setter and be the first of your friends to host a party in honor of the hottest sips from the Southeast. This is the perfect way to ring in the Chinese New Year (the Year of the Rabbit) with your friends & family.
In preparing for the party, purchase sakes and store them. Make sure you keep them in dry, dark places. For your decorations, buy porcelain sake glassware or traditional masu wooden boxes - you can get these great little glasses at a local asian market or find them online (Amazon.com). If you are working on a budget, just use your shot glasses for sipping.
Winter is the perfect time to host a sake party since the sakes will definitely warm you up. Serve with rich appetizers that will help to bring out the flavors of the sake. Sushi and edamame are always great stand-bys but you can also pair it with foods that have an umami flavor like meats and cheeses (japanese kabobs and baked brie are great options). Serve a sweet dessert that will compliment your sweet sakes - chocolate and fruit, especially plums are a delightful pairing. Set out a tray filled with crystallized ginger and other dried fruit for guests to nibble on and enjoy.
The order you should serve your sake is as follows:
#1 - start with a junmai sake - these are pure rice wines without added distilled alcohols. This lets you start with a pure form of sake.
#2 - honjozo sake - these sakes have the alcohol added during the fermentation process. They are usually considered lighter in taste and easier to drink.
#3 - Nigori - usually a favorite of most. These generally have a cloudy look to them since they still contain some rice sediment.
#4 - Fizzy sake - this one is just for fun! Check out sake2me.com for this one or just combine champagne and junmai sake to make your own.
Check out your local Asian Market to find a variety of sakes or your local spirits store.
This is such a fun, simple party and a great excuse to get the girls together. Here's to the Year of the Rabbit!